Eddie Hall Says Opening Up About Your Mental Health Can Only Make You Stronger
Eddie Hall wants to end the stigma which prevents so many men from speaking about or seeking help for their mental health. In a new video shared to his YouTube channel during Mental Health Awareness Week, the strongman-turned-boxer speaks about his own past struggles, and states that he would not be here now if he hadn't asked for help.
"There's a real stigma around men talking about their mental health being seen as weak and pathetic, and that is far from the truth," he says. "I think if you open up and talk about it, you are a bigger man than anyone else out there. Suffering in silence is not a good way to go about things, and it doesn't make you any better of a man to seal it up... I think seeking help is the first port of call."
Hall says he is "proud" to be so open about his own mental health experiences, and recalls how he suffered so badly with anxiety when he was a teenager that he became deeply depressed. "I bottled it up for so long, it got so bad I couldn't leave the house at some points," he says. "My world imploded, and I just wish I'd talked to someone earlier... I got better, I prevailed, I got through that hard part of my life and I got better."
He also speaks about how fitness played a role in his mental health journey, and how going to the gym as a teenager helped him to find a sense of purpose. Setting goals and working towards them, he explains, was also a way of keeping his mind busy.
"That was my tool, that was my void filler," he says. "You manage mental health, you don't cure it... It never goes away, it's something you have to manage. And going to the gym, for me, helped tremendously."
He goes on to cite the sobering reality that 90 men in the United Kingdom die from suicide every week. "They're statistics, and they're said so passingly, but people forget that these are people's family members and friends," he says, reiterating the importance of talking and checking in with friends. "If you've got no-one else, go to a doctor. If you have friends and family, open up. It saved my life."
Despite building his career on brute force, Hall wants his fans to know that real strength comes from being brave enough to open up, and he hopes that people take that message to heart.
"I want to tell you, here and now, as the World's Strongest Man, it's not weak to talk about mental health," he says. "It's not weak to admit you have a problem. If you've got cancer, you would go to the doctor. If you had a cold, you'd take things to make you feel better. This is exactly the same. It's an illness, and you need to get it treated."
"Don't be ashamed to reach out," he adds. "Seek help, get better, don't give up, and keep being amazing."
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